The food and wine of Gascony

by Darby
(SW France)

The region of Gascony in France is not clearly defined. It can be described as a triangular region bounded on the west by the Atlantic ocean, to the South by the Pyrenees, to the north east by the Garonne River downstream from Toulouse. Gascony includes all or part of the départements of Landes, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Gironde, Lot-et-Garonne, Gers, Hautes-Pyrénées, Tarn-et-Garonne, Haute-Garonne.

Around Bordeaux the red wines are dominated by the Cabernets - Franc and Sauvignon as well as Merlot. But there are many more varieties of interest here.

In the centre of the region is the Appellation of Madiran where the Tannat variety holds sway. Further South the Basque influence is more pronounced with a range of lesser known varieties are used.

The region is agriculturally rich and diverse with such delights as foie gras, Armagnac, prunes, cherries and pears. Olives are not grown here so the cooking medium is often goose or duck fat. Don't worry about the cholesterol, a good glass of Tannat red wine will give you more protection form cardiovascular disease that worrying about saturated fats ever will.

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